by Upton Sinclair
The Jungle Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Jurgis had looked into the deepest reaches of the social pit, and grown used to the sights in them. Yet when he had thought of all humanity as vile and hideous, he had somehow always excepted his own family that he had loved; and now this sudden horrible discovery—Marija a whore, and Elzbieta and the children living off her shame! Jurgis might argue with himself all he chose, that he had done worse, and was a fool for caring—but still he could not get over the shock of that sudden unveiling, he could not help being sunk in grief because of it. The depths of him were troubled and shaken, memories were stirred in him that had been sleeping so long he had counted them dead. Memories of the old life—his old hopes and his old yearnings, his old dreams of decency and independence! (27.106)
Even after all of Jurgis's own humiliations – his days spent begging or on the road looking for a place to spend the night – the thing that really gets to him at last is that Marija Berczynskas has become a prostitute. Suddenly, his own family is no longer free of the "deepest reaches of the social pit" he hates so much. Why might Jurgis hold the women in his family to a higher standard of behavior than he himself follows? What might this indicate about Jurgis's view of the role of women in society?